New Chapters

If I had logged my life as religiously as I did in the Outpost, would the past 2 ½ years have been easier? Would they feel less like lost time? As if I were running across marbles, slipping, sliding, losing my footing? Had I been able to capture them tidily in properly punctuated paragraphs, would I remember it all as less a blur? Would it have been more manageable?

Oh, I kept a journal. Privately scrawled. The madness and the misery too ragged, too raw, too untidy, to hold up to the light. I can’t bear to read back those scribbled lines which run diagonally across page after page as I sought to make sense of our lives; lives which seemed to be spiraling out of control as we lurched from one crisis to another. Two years. Three countries. Seven homes. Our possessions as battered as us with every unpacking. Night after sleepless night, by day a host of butterflies lived in my chest as I anticipated the next catastrophe. I tried to articulate my relentless what’sgoingtohappennext anxiety to a doctor. I sat opposite him in a tiny surgery and tried, vainly, to describe how it feels when your life runs amok, out of control, waving sticks and screeching and kicking your legs out from beneath you. He nodded sagely but his whole demeanour, his desk, smacked of an ordered existence (my desk, by comparison with drawers graunched by so much travelling, was strewn with months old paperwork and bills and letters that should have been dealt with weeks and weeks ago). ‘Use Rescue Remedy’, he advised.

How reassuring life would be if the tiniest sip of an organic tincture could set an upset world straight on its axis.

I don’t know how, now, after the fact, to describe the fallout. I can’t look back.

So this, this latest, feels as I have stepped into a small boat on rough waters and I am still waiting for the little hull to stop its slightly unnerving rocking so that I can sit and settle.

You see, when change batters as it did us, you lose your sense of self. My identify was carved neatly of my role as wifemotherwriter (and sometimes glass artist). The order, the peace, the predictability of my life was the backdrop upon which I interpreted those roles. There was time and space for each. But circumstances picked us up and tossed us hither and thither, like a souvenir Parisian snow fall in a globe. Except the blizzard was relentless; you crawl out dazed and bruised and confused. You’re still a wife. (And you wonder if your marriage is better for the experience or worse? Can I believe that because we survived the storm, it’s a good marriage?). You’re still a mother (though you know that because you were so busy trying to clutch at the flotsam and jetsam of your life as it floated by, you haven’t always been a good mother). But the writing has gone to pot; I could not organise my thoughts, the words, when they rarely came, danced about taunting and disobedient . And as for the glass …

I am apparently emerged from the crises. But I am not unscathed. I feel potholed. The urge to patch up bits of myself so that I might be whole again is enormous.  But it is hard to know where to begin. Returning regularly to my blog seemed like a good place to start?  If I can string a sentence, I tell myself, beads scattered upon a floor carefully collected and rethreaded, will I be able to gather up the rest of myself?

So I shall aspire to find my seat in this little boat. I shall nervously try to settle myself and I shall look determinedly ahead.

the view

16 Responses to “New Chapters”

  1. Jackie Brice-Bennett Says:

    Glad to see you back. I can only begin to imagine what a time you have had, but I think you are weathering the storm, (I won’t say “weathered” yet, but I will one day!). It’s been horrible, that’s been obvious, but you are getting there my brave friend. And there’s lots of glass to keep you busy ready for Xmas Fair – once the children disappear of course! Enjoy them while they are with you. Lots of love, xxxx

    • reluctantmemsahib Says:

      thank you x and yes, I’m enjoying having the children here immensely. Look forward to seeing you towards the end of the yearx

  2. Mama D Says:

    So glad to see you back and to hear that the tempest is easing!

  3. janerowena Says:

    Once you are settled, it takes a couple of years or so for it to sink in that you may just have found a real home. I got to the stage where I refused all social invitations because it hurt too much to leave good new friends behind so often. Blogging is a good start, I ran a forum when we first moved here and in reality it was my blog, but in forum format. It was hugely cathartic and I’m pretty sure it was writing everything down that helped me to keep my sanity. We’re coming up to our 7th year in one place now, and it’s only been over the past three or four that I have allowed myself to make good friends rather than acquaintances. The forum filled the gap. A diary is one thing (I also have that) but feedback is occasionally required!

    • reluctantmemsahib Says:

      i agree: feedback (which so often takes the shape of empathy and encouragement) is hugely meaningful

  4. inthewronggear Says:

    Safari njema on this new voyage… I, for one, will be so happy to see regular messages in bottles from you, for inspiration. Take your Sea Legs, and keep blogging xx

  5. Addy Says:

    Sorry to hear you have been so unhappy and anxious. It is difficult to comment without knowing the reasons for the many moves in as many years. It sounds as if you are hanging on by your fingernails, but hope your little boat soon comes into the harbour safe and sound. Getting it all out of your system in the form of a blog will help- it certainly worked for me when my life was topsy turvy a few years ago. x

    • reluctantmemsahib Says:

      thank you Addy. just having made the commitment to myself to return to regular writing helps. x

  6. Janelle Says:

    i hear you, i really really do. the last two years have been, well, transitional for many. i have found that the only thing to do is yes 1. keep a journal. 2. wake up and be present in your life for that day and give it your best shot. 3. look UP. and not down. that small physical turn of the head upwards changes worries into wonders. 3. count the little blessings that truly are all around you…from the butterfly flitting by, to the way the sun lights up a leaf or a flower, the way the dogs love you. your children. your friends. the kindness of a stranger. the smile of a stranger in a passing car. these are the things which help one keep afloat. happy to see you posting again, honey. write more. i’m trying. sending MUCH MUCH love. XXX janelle

    • reluctantmemsahib Says:

      Janelle, i know you have been caught in the turmoil of your own change. and i have noticed your recent more regular writing. please do keep scribbling. you write so beautifully, so evocatively. the thing about a blog is i think it makes one write more mindfully. and probably more politely! less rant and tears, more real writing and considered prose. so it’s good practice. hope to see you soon x

  7. Ellie Says:

    So glad you’re feeling up to writing again! Have missed your voice here (and always worry a bit when blogs i read go silent, because: if the worst happened, how would i ever know?). And so, happy to see new posts, and mostly am very glad for you that you are finding your blog writer voice once more.

  8. Sue Says:

    RM, I’m so glad you are back. I’ve missed your postings and I truly hope your life returns to an even keel. Baby steps all the way and life does get sunnier again.

  9. docmomma Says:

    Glad to see you back — will read anything you choose to write! Hope things calm down in this new place.

  10. Hannah Brewer (@MuddlingAlong) Says:

    Good to have you back – I hope things will look up for you and settle down into a lovely calmness

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